CharterCare Announces Intent to Purchase Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket

Friday, April 13, 2018

 

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Pawtucket Mayor Don Grebien (right) and CharterCare CEO John Holiver (left) at Pawtucket City Hall Thursday morning.

Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien was joined by CharterCare Health Partners CEO John Holiver and other elected officials on Thursday at Pawtucket City Hall to announce CharterCare’s intention to purchase and reopen Memorial Hospital. 

The Rhode Island Department of Health approved Care New England’s (CNE’s) application to close Memorial Hospital’s emergency department in December 2017.

“Generations of Pawtucket residents came to rely upon Memorial Hospital for their healthcare needs, particularly in times of crisis. Regardless of what has transpired in the past six months, we stand here today unified around the opportunity to bring back Memorial, hundreds of employees and access to emergency room care for the residents of Blackstone Valley,” said Grebien. “I asked CharterCare to see what they could do to address this situation, and they have responded.”

According to Holiver, reopening Memorial’s emergency room would be the first step in a phased process to restore hospital services at Memorial.

“Memorial Hospital was formed in 1894 and for well over a century it provided the residents of Blackstone Valley with critical hospital care services. It survived through the decades based on the goodwill and generosity of too many people to mention. Today, we embark on a path to return Memorial Hospital to the people of Blackstone Valley and to restore this critical community asset,” said Holiver.

Terms of Proposal

According to CharterCare, they would purchase the hospital property and infrastructure and will commit to $10 million in capital improvements. CharterCare also said they would host healthcare job fairs that prioritize hiring Rhode Islanders. 

CharterCare said they will also pay property taxes to the City of Pawtucket and is working closely with the city to establish a tax stabilization framework. CharterCare expects to submit a formal offer to CNE to purchase Memorial in the coming days.

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Lt. Governor Dan McKee was among the supporters of the prospective deal in attendance on Thursday.

The offer is contingent on CharterCare getting the necessary regulatory licenses and certificates of need reinstated, and also on CharterCare’s ability to either negotiate what they say are fair rates with insurance providers or the adoption of legislation that would mandate reimbursement rates in line with other hospitals in Rhode Island. Legislation to address the imbalance in hospital rates will be introduced in the coming days.

Latest in Hospital Battles 

Last October, Care New England announced it would be shutting down emergency services and in-patient units at the hospital, after the failure of a proposed sale to Prime Healthcare. The announcement affected approximately 700 employees, limited access to hospital care in the Blackstone Valley and caused an emergency room crisis when other area hospital emergency rooms were inundated with an overflow of patients during the winter.

Care New England responded with the following on Thursday. 

“We made the difficult decision more than six months ago to close Memorial Hospital and begin transitioning the facility into an outpatient center. In the process, we preserved 200 local jobs and positioned community-based health care for a solid future. said Jim Beardsworth, CNE spokesman, regarding Memorial Hospital. "Today’s announcement by Prospect Health/CharterCare certainly comes as a surprise as there has been no previous discussion or formal proposal submitted to Care New England."

“Any plan to reopen the closed facility, as suggested today, is simply unfeasible especially since we previously had conversations with CharterCare about buying Memorial and those proved fruitless," added Beardsworth. "Today’s announcement represents nothing more than an opportunity to muddy the health care landscape with an ill-conceived plan with no true thought for serving the community need.”

United Nurses and Allied Professionals (UNAP) General Counsel Chris Callaci expressed his concern on Thursday. 

"No one has fought longer and harder to protect the jobs and healthcare services at Memorial Hospital than the United Nurses and Allied Professionals. Our members have been at the front lines of healthcare for more than a generation and we are proud to have provided world-class care to the people of Pawtucket and the Blackstone Valley," said Callaci. "Today's farcical announcement was typical for Prospect CharterCare: short on details and long on empty promises and rhetoric. The State of Rhode Island shuttered the Emergency Room at Memorial Hospital last December and unless Prospect CharterCare officials have miraculously convinced the administration to reverses that decision, we call BS."

 
 

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